Forklifts are the most popular piece of material handling equipment for unloading and loading trucks and it is most commonly used to move pallet load. The forklift was developed in the 1920s by various companies including the transmission manufacturing company Clark (today known as Clark Material Handling Company) and the hoist company Yale & Towne Manufacturing (today known as Yale Materials Handling Corporation). It has since become an indispensable piece of equipment in manufacturing and warehousing operations.
In this posting, I will touch on the:
- The Characteristics of Forklift
- The Speed and Control
- Control of Forklift
- Advantages and Disadvantages
- Forklift Safety
A typical 'Counterbalance' forklift may be generally described as follows:
- The truck proper, which is a motive machine with wheels and/or tracks powered through a drive train.
- It can either run by liquefied petroleum gas–, petrol, compression ignition engine or diesel fueled internal combustion engine, or an electric motor(s) either direct current or alternating current powered by either a battery or fuel cells.
- The mast, which is the vertical assembly that does the work of raising, lowering, and tilting the load
- One or more forks, which are the L-shaped members that engage the load. The back vertical portion of the fork attaches to the carriage most often by means of a hook or latch (Class I to IV forks). The front horizontal portion or the L-shaped fork is inserted into or under the load, usually on a pallet
- A load back rest is fitted when the load is higher than the top of the carriage, and is a rack-like extension either bolted or welded to the carriage to prevent the load from shifting backward.
- Rider operated machines have a driver's overhead guard, which is a metal roof, supported by posts, that helps protect the operator from any falling objects.
- The cab, which may contain a seat for the operator, along with the control pedals, steering wheel, levers, and switches for controlling the machine and a dashboard containing operator readouts. The cab may be open, or closed, but is bounded by the cage-like overhead guard assembly.
- Counterbalance machines have a counterweight, which is a heavy iron mass attached to the rear of the machine, necessary to compensate for the load. In an electric forklift, the large lead-acid battery itself may serve as part of the counterweight.
Speed and Capabilities:
The capacity of a forklift truck is usually quote as maximum load weight when the load centre of gravity is at a specified distance (load centre) from the heel of the fork. there are 3 standard forklift mast; the single stage, two-stage (Duplex) and the three stage (triplex). the more stages in a mast, the higher the ability ti lift and the lower will be the closed height of the mast. when the fork rises, the mast will start to extend out.
The speed and capabilities of the forklift are:
- Fast moving
- Ability to lift and stack up to heights of about 5M
- CBFLT have a capacities ranging between 1,000 kg to about 45,000 kg contanier handling. some smaller models have about (1,000 kg - 1,500 kg) have three wheels rather then four wheels to give them better ease in movement. but the four wheel forklift provides a better balance.
Three wheel forklift
Four wheel forklift
Control of Forklift
Forklift trucks are available in many variations and load capacities. Unlike cars, forklifts are normally rear-steer.
In addition to a control to raise and lower the forks (also known as blades or tines), the operator can tilt the mast to compensate for a load's tendency to angle the blades toward the ground and risk slipping off the forks. Tilt also provides a limited ability to operate on non-level ground. Some machines also allow the operator to move the tines and backrest laterally (side-shift), allowing easier placement of a load. To aid the handling of skids that may have become excessively tilted and other specialty material handling needs, some forklifts are fitted with a mechanism that allows the tines to be rotated. In addition, a few machines offer a hydraulic control to move the tines together or apart, removing the need for the operator to get out of the cab to manually adjust for a differently sized load.
A video on a three wheel forklift by Mitsubishi:
Advantages and Disadvantages:
The advantages of a fork lift is that they are versatile, aorklift truck attachment can beattached for the forklift to conduct other specific purpose. forklift truck attachments includes clamps, side shift, rotating head, load push-pull and non-powered attachments.
I will go into further details of truck attachments, so do check out the next posting on truck attachments.
Forklift trucks are an essential part of most industrial and supply chains around the world.
However, statistics indicate that they also present a very significant hazard to people
occupying the same workspace. Forklift induced injuries can be severe or fatal as the
trucks are heavy and powerful vehicles. Twenty years ago the forklift was the major
cause of industrial deaths and accidents. Unfortunately up until now little has changed.
Below shows the statistic of the number of accidents hanppened in the work place in Singapore in the year 2006.
Top 3 Agents of Accident for Fatal Workplace Injuries in 2006
Among accidents involving transport equipment or vehicles, forklift-related accidents contributed to more than 50% of the fatal injuries. Nine people have died from such accidents in 2006 and this represents a 300% increase from 2005. the most common type of accidents due to forklifts were being caught in between object-forklift and being struck againts or by forklift. In addition, data also shows an upward trend in the number of non-fatal injuries. This statistic coupled with the fact that forklifts are widely used in many operations reaffirm the need for a targeted intervention programme.
To find out more about the forklift accidents that happened in Singapore in the year 2006, please visit thie site: http://www.mom.gov.sg/publish/etc/medialib/mom_library/Workplace_Safety/mashw_probe_forklift.Par.29420.File.tmp/Overview%20of%20Accident%20Statistics%20and%20Trends%20involving%20Forklifts.pdf
Thus, with the increased number of forklift accidents, the Ministry of Manpower (Singapore) implemented forklift safety. They are:
- Know you Forklift
Make sure that forklift operators are trained and authorized to operate the forklift.
- Save Work Procedure (SWP)
Make sure that SWP is implemented and communicated to workers
- Make sure your workplace is safe
Developing an effective traffic management plan is the key to addressing risk realated to forklifts in the workplace
A video about a forklift training: